Dinner at Hot Box Grill – March 30, 2012 – Sonoma, CA.
This is one heck of a find in Sonoma County. The food is very creative and makes a great impression with it’s entire farm to table goodness. All the dishes were so tasty; it’s hard to single out my favorites. Chef Norman Owens really knows how to make things interesting, he gets it! This is upscale casual dining at its best.
Hot Box Grill has some pretty great accolades; 3.5 out of 4 stars – Press Democrat, 4.5 out of 5 stars – Yelp, #1 restaurant in Sonoma – Trip Advisor, 4.5 out of 5 stars – Open Table, Best Chef in Sonoma (2010) – Sonoma Sun, Runner-up Best Chef (2011) – Sonoma Sun, and Winner “Man ‘n Cheese Cook-off” – 2012 Artisan Cheese Fair.
Here’s what I had:
Fried Green Tomato Salad with crispy – coated tomatoes. This salad is very Southern, and is packed with great flavor.
Minestrone Soup with nice fresh pasta and chicken meatballs, which makes this soup very comforting.
Fried Pork Rolls with spicy soy and sriracha dipping sauce. These are very Filipino with good crunch, and great taste.
Kalbi Short Rib Lettuce Wraps with rice noodles, mint, chilies, peanuts, and nuoc cham. These wraps are nice and light, perfect to get your appetite on board.
Speck Wrapped Duck Fries with 2 bundles with smoked proscuitto, truffle aioli, grana padano cheese. This dish is so decadent, the truffle flavor is enough to celebrate. May I say that it is very filling, so watch out!
Grilled Asparagus Remoulade, smoked paprika oil, crispy shallots, a wonderful side dish.
Dungeness Crab Salad with Meyer lemon and crème fraiche dressing, butter lettuce, grapefruit, curried papadum. There is so much sweet fresh crab in this salad, it’s a lot of bang for your buck.
Spicy Ahi Tuna with Timbale Ponzu, cucumbers, chili-infused sesame oil, avocado mousse, and crispy wontons. The tuna tastes like the sea, and the chili infused sesame oil adds a nice kick.
Marinated and Grilled Hanger Steak with sauce béarnaise; duck fat French fries, local seasonal vegetables. The steak is cooked medium rare and has a nice crust, jam packed with all the essential flavors.
Petrale Sole, the fish is moist and tender, the presentation is gorgeous, a feast for your eyes!
Roasted cauliflower, caramelized shallots, and
chickpeas with dukkah. This is so great for vegetarians, and can actually be eaten as a meal on it’s own.
Brussels, pancetta, garlic, and chili flakes. This dish will make anyone be a brussel sprout lover for good.
Boston Crème Pie, a fantastic way to end a glorious meal.
My wonderful server Gregg also paired these wines, all of them were fantastic, and were great with the food.
J Cuvee Brut, NV Russian River Valley, great bubbles, paired with the Crab Salad.
Spann Vineyards, Chardonnay Viogner ‘09, Sonoma Valley. This wine matched the subtle flavors of the Petrale Sole.
Nicholson Ranch, “Estate” Pinot Noir ‘08, Sonoma Valley. Great with the lettuce wraps and the speck French fries.
Stone Edge Vineyards, Cabernet/Merlot Blend ‘05, Sonoma Valley. Of course this one was splendid with the hanger steak.
They have such great local sources in Sonoma County and beyond; here are some of the local sources where they gather their ingredients. Oak Hill Farm provides the most delectable fruits and vegetables, the freshest flowers possible, all grown using methods that promote healthy soil, supporting a vibrant environment and community. http://oakhillfarm.sonoma-sky.com/. Their duck meat is from the heart of the Perigord region in Southwest France.
The milk used is from Clover Stornetta, which is a family-owned and operated dairy processor that distributes a wide range of high quality dairy products throughout California, Arizona and Nevada. http://www.cloverstornetta.com/.
The seafood is from Royal Hawaiian Seafood and has one of the most extensive lines of quality seafood products in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area. They continually strive to deliver the best in quality, service & value. http://www.royalhawaiianseafood.com/
This place rocks! So much terrific fare, in the glorious Sonoma Valley. After a long hard day of wine tasting, bring your amped-up taste buds to little jewel, and experience casual dining like never before.
HOT BOX GRILL
18350 Sonoma Highway
Sonoma, CA, 95476